One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Of a person or a person's disposition, actions, etc.: smiling, mirthful, cheerful, light-hearted.
2Of a thing, especially a landscape, place, etc.: having a pleasant aspect, agreeable to the sight, looking bright or cheerful.
Mid 16th century; earliest use found in Thomas Paynell (d. ?1564), translator. From French riant smiling, laughing, cheerful, pleasant to look at, use as adjective of present participle of rire to laugh from classical Latin rīdēre to laugh.
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